Monthly Archives: September 2008

Pain Management, Materialism and Angels.

We live in an increasingly materialist culture. Strangely, although psychics, mediums and “true” ghost stories litter the TV and radio airwaves, there is a huge cult of ‘If I can’t see it, it aint there” among those who consider themselves the elite. It is nothing new of course. We remember the story of how Emile Zola was a witness to a miracle cure at Lourdes but far from being open minded about it and exploring the possibility of God, he wrote a novel in which he tried to insinuate there was some forgery.

Medicine has gone the same way. While Hippocrates and Galen saw the wholeness of a person, modern medicine only sees parts and only the parts that can be seen by eye or machine. If it can’t be seen, it is either not there or treated with suspicion.

Pain, of course, does not show up on any machine. It can’t be measured, other than by the patient and is therefore subjective. I am sure I am not the only one who finds the whole business of trying to explain chronic pain to a doctor a laborious and fruitless excercise. It is depilitating, exhausting and quite frankly, at times, depressing.

The last few days have been difficult, and so I have been taking the Tramadol, but that is not my usual way of dealing with pain. I thought I would write up my ideas for pain management-just in case it is of any use:

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Me and My First Baby Meme

Curtesy of Therese, Deb and Esther.

1. Were you married at the time?
yes-been married 4 months.

2. What were your reactions when you found out you were pregnant/approved?
A bit shocked and over the moon.

3. How old were you?

4. How did you find out you were pregnant/on the waiting list?
I did a HPT. It was a weird one with two little test tubes. Surely there were POAS tests back then! Why did I do such a complicated one?

5. Who did you tell first?
Al and then our friend Ann who lived with us at the time.

6. Did you want to find out the sex?
I can’t remember if we wanted to, but we didn’t. I think the hospitals did not like to say.

7. Due date/Expected arrival date:
He was due 4th April 1989

8. Did you deliver/meet your child early or late?
Late. He arrived 15th April just a couple of days before they had me booked for induction. So I wasn’t induced; good lad.

9. Did you have morning sickness/anxiety?
Some anxiety at the beginning because I wasn’t sure how pregnancy was supposed to feel and I felt AWFUL. Sick as a dog for the whole 9 months.

10. What did you crave?
Satsumas. By the crate load. Al used to go down to the local grocer who actually ordered in an extra crate a week just for me. I have piles of crates stacking up at the back of the house. LOL.

11. Who irritated you the most?
Old ladies who kept asking “You still here then?” from about 8mths to birth!

12. What was your first child’s sex?

13. How many pounds did you gain throughout the pregnancy/while munching Fritos as you waited for The Call?
I don’t remember but I am guessing it was a few…or more.

14. Did you have any complications during your pregnancy/complications with Red Tape?
Not that I remember. Got very anaemic so they threatened to admit me for a transfusion, but I look loads of Ferrus Sulphate (yuk) along with all those satsumas and managed to get away with it.

15. Where did you give birth/meet your child?
Sorento Maternity Unit-a little cottage hospital now closed. It was lovely there.

16. How many hours were you in labor/between The Call and holding your new child?
Labour was 29hrs. Slow lead up all day and then heavy contractions while trying to watch “A Room with a View”. He finally put in an appearance a day and bit later!

17. Who drove you to the hospital/airport/office?

18. Who watched/went with you?
Al and Ann came too.

19. Was it vaginal or c-section (no adoption alternative here. Sorry)

20. Did you take medicine to ease the pain/self medicate to calm your nerves?
They gave me Pethidin but it made me doo lally tap and hardly helped the pain at all. I had an oxygen tube in and they tried to give me ventolin! Can you imagine that? ROFL!

21. How much did your child weigh?
7lbs 13oz

22. What did you name him/her?
Joshua Ewan, but he was called The Baked Bean for a long time because he was orange.

23. How old is your first child today?

Ah those memories.

Charlotte Mason; The Tyranny of Exams

I’m nearly at the end of “Parents and Children” Volume 2 of the Charlotte Mason homeschooling series.

As I was reading her views on the “tyranny of competitive examination supported by parents.” ~I also happened to be listening to Dr Ray talking about a controversial (and to my mind daft) scheme to pay students for grades. Following that my friend, a teacher in a secondary school came over for dinner and talked about the huge problems the exam system is causing to her students.

Charlotte saw quite clearly that exams did not help, but rather hindered learning. Students would simply be taught to pass the exams. What I call ‘jumping through hoops’. That is they perform and are given a grade on that narrow performance-but it matters not at all whether the student has learned anything.

Parents tend to support the system because they get something for their own egos from it. Tommy gets an ‘A’ and daddy can show off. Charlotte is unimpressed with this.

Meanwhile on Dr Ray’s programme teachers and a librarian phoned in to explain how the system encourages cheating. Students who work very hard and overcome great obstacles to get their ‘D’ are passed over in favour of students who cheat and have their parents do half the work for them so they get their ‘A’.

The librarian who called Dr Ray pointed out that the kids were not even there while their parents were doing the coursework FOR THEM.

Charlotte wrote:

We absolutely must get rid of the competitive examination system if we would not be reduced to the appalling mediocrity which we see, in China, for example, to have befallen an examination-ridden empire.

Meanwhile my teacher friend explained how the head of her school simply wants the children to be taught how to pass the exams-even if this means utterly limiting what they get to learn. League tables and status are at stake. Get rid of literature because it takes time away from jumping through hoops.

Surely it’s time to let children LEARN. Charlotte realised that discipline and habits helped to form a person so that they wanted to learn and could learn. She realised that learning was about becoming the best person one could be-nothing whatsoever to do with passing exams or getting some kind of status.

Homeschooling: Two great days!

Sometimes it all just works! (And of course sometimes it doesn’t lol). The last two days have gone really well. On Thursday we had a real Charlotte Mason day. We did some book and maths work in the morning and then set off for Mass. On the way to Mass we spotted oak and sycamore and ash trees as well as crunching through the autumn leaves.

Mass was lovely and then on the way back the children found a couple of sycamore helicopters and some acorns. We stopped off along the way to gather a load of elderberries and some blackberries. The blackberry crop isn’t that good this year but it was fun to gather them anyway.

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Life, Books and the meaning of the Universe.

Homeschool group was pretty quiet today with so many families away. It was a craft session and the children did glass painting on acetate sheets. Some of the them got some really good results.

My starter kit-a big box of books-arrived from Usborne yesterday and I have been introducing the homeschoolers to the idea of buying books from me. There is some interest. I hope it goes well. I am not a natural sales person and yet I have to say I buy a lot of Usborne books because they are so good and so I thought this might be something genuinely useful for the groups and other friends and family with children.

There are some really lovely books in the pack. My favourite is a really lovely book introducing children to the history of art called “The Story of Painting”.

There is no Sign Language this afternoon because of so few families being around this morning so I have a few minutes to blog and chill a bit. Ronan and Avila are sitting at the table with their acetates and some glasspaint pens we borrowed so they can finish their art work.

The biggies have Scouts tonight and their leader is taking them to see “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas“. It’s supposed to be very good-and I think very sad. I’m hoping to go and see it myself sometime.

My New Slow Cooker Has Arrived!

I loved my slow cooker and then a couple of weeks ago it died. Crying 

Well I just need a slow cooker, so I asked Al if I could have one for my birthday. Well, I’m sorry folk but my birthday isn’t for another couple of weeks and I REALLY need a slow cooker. So I ordered one and it arrived today.

I use it a lot in the Autumn and winter for a number of things. It makes a lot of chutney and mince meat for the Christmas jars.

It is my Wednesday Saver. We have homeschool group on a Wednesday morning and then everyone comes back here for lunch and then I teach Sign Language after that. By the time that day is over I am shattered and certainly wouldn’t be up to cooking dinner for everyone. By having the slow cooker set up in the morning before we go out there is a lovely meal ready for everyone and as Wednesday night is Scout night the older ones can grab a plateful before they have to leave the house.

I use the slow cooker for big family gatherings and borrow a couple of others so a large gathering can have a hot meal.

I don’t know who invented the thing but GOD BLESS HIM!

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A little pre-homeschool group.

Yesterday a couple of mums came over with their pre-homeschool children. They have a two children each and the oldest is a little boy aged 4 who has started some homeschool activities. He and Ronan got on really well and we think they would work well together so we will arrange some sessions.

One of the other homeschool mums comes over every other Friday for the children to work together. The new mums would like to come and see that in action.

Then I’ll probably sort out meeing regularly with them for a sort of toddler and baby group.

I might even start teaching a bit of Baby Sign.


Becoming a working mum

Perhaps I’ve been inspired by Sarah Palin- but I am going to be doing some work from home. I’m going to start selling Usborne books. Josh will help me by doing some of the leg work that I can’t do.

I’m hoping it will help with paying for Christmas and some kitchen equipment I could really do with.

Now you all know what I’ll be giving everyone’s children for Christmas LOL!